Georgi Karakhanyan (left) and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire will do battle at Bellator 37. | Photo: Bellator
Freire tipped the scales at 146 pounds for his quarterfinal matchup with Karakhanyan (146) in the Bellator Fighting Championships Season 4 featherweight tournament at Bellator 37 on Saturday at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla. Those fighters populating the three remaining quarterfinals -- Zac George (145.8) vs. Wilson Reis (145.6), Eric Larkin (145.4) vs. Kenny Foster (145.4) and Daniel Straus (144) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (145.6) -- also made weight without incident at Friday’s official weigh-in.
A Season 2 featherweight finalist, Freire won his first 14 professional bouts before losing a contentious three-round split decision to current featherweight titleholder Joe Warren at Bellator 23 in June. The 23-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt nearly finished Warren with his potent and diverse offensive repertoire inside the first round, only to fall short on points. Freire, who trains with former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight boss Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, has secured 11 of his 14 career victories by submission.
Karakhanyan last appeared at Bellator 28 in September, when he took a unanimous decision from WEC alum Anthony Leone at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans. The 25-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt operates out of the Millennia Mixed Martial Arts Training Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and has rattled off 10 wins in his past 11 outings. Karakhanyan’s lone setback in that span came in a controversial unanimous decision to Warren at Bellator 18. Born in Moscow to Armenian parents, Karakhanyan played professional soccer before his current incarnation as a mixed martial artist. He owns notable victories against EliteXC veteran Bao Quach and Affliction alum Albert Rios. In 17 professional appearances, Karakhanyan has never been finished.
The winner of the eight-man featherweight draw will earn $100,000 in prize money, along with a crack at Warren’s 145-pound crown. Bellator 37 will air on MTV2 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Karakhanyan (146) vs. Patricio
“Pitbull” Freire (146)
Zac George (145.8) vs. Wilson Reis (145.6)
Eric Larkin (145.4) vs. Kenny Foster (145.4)
Daniel Straus (144) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (145.6)
Roli Delgado (144.4) vs. Jameel Massouh (145)
John Bryant (186.8) vs. Jake Rosholt (185.8)
Jeremy Spoon (143.6) vs. Jerrod Sanders (146)
Brandon Shelton (153) vs. Adam Snook (Will Weigh-in Saturday)
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